Sayers, Brian (b.1954)

Brian Sayers was born in Bromley, a suburb of London, and was educated at the Slade School of Art between 1974 and 1978. Although an accomplished portraitist and sometime landscape painter, Sayers is best known for his dense and haunting still life paintings. Sayers often arranges objects in a grid-like pattern on a tabletop, yet the objects appear to have no direct relationship with their neighbours and there is no common use which bonds the objects together. The viewpoint is raised with a raking aerial perspective. This gives the viewer the impression of hovering over the subject. The arrangement of objects recalls a cityscape with the gaps between the objects taking on the appearance of avenues separating deserted buildings. The vessels give the impression of being relics and lend an archaeological air to the compositions. Jeffrey Dennis (in an essay written about the artist in 2007) drew a parallel between the large still life compositions and a table-top model of Pompeii in the Archaeological Museum of Naples which details the remains of the city in miniature. Like earlier painters of the still life such as Zurbaran, Cotán and Morandi, Sayers achieves his uncanny effects though nuance and restraint, and through a meticulous attention to the harmonies and tensions of form.

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